Photo2fuel Project


Artificial PHOTOsynthesis to produce FUELs and chemicals: hybrid systems with microorganisms for improved light harvesting and CO2 reduction

The Photo2Fuel project will develop a breakthrough technology that converts CO2 into useful fuels and chemicals by means of non-photosynthetic microorganisms and organic materials, using only sunlight as energy source. Photo2Fuel’s technology is based on the artificial photosynthesis concept and will use a hybrid system of non-photosynthetic microorganisms and organic photosensitisers to produce acetic acid and methane, using Moorella thermoacetica (bacteria) and Methanosarcina barkeri (archaea) strains, respectively. After optimisation and characterisation, this hybrid non-photosynthetic microorganisms with organic photosensitiser system will be placed into an auto sufficient photo-micro-reactor running exclusively with sunlight. During the day, the natural sunlight will be used, and, during the night, artificial light will be used from previous stored solar energy in batteries (excess sunlight). This approach will guarantee the continuous operation of the photo-micro-reactor. Additionally, a solar concentrator will be coupled to the reactor to maximise conversion and stabilise the production of fuels and chemicals, even with variant solar flux. The Photo2Fuel project will also investigate technologies for the separation of the main products – acetic acid and methane – and deliver solutions to achieve high separation efficiency.

The overall sustainability of the Photo2Fuel’s technology will be analysed, including the environmental, economic, and social aspects. Lastly, the market, barriers, and key stakeholders will be analysed from an end-user perspective, aiming at advancing the technology’s TRL-4 after the project completion and, thus, actively supporting the transition to a climate neutral Europe by 2050.


HORIZON-CL5-2021-D2-01  /  HORIZON-CL5-2021-D2-01-08 – Emerging technologies for a climate neutral Europe

Grant agrreement ID
Start – end date
1 September 2022 – 31 August 2025
Budget and funding
€ 2 493 171,25/ € 2 493 171

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or CINEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.